← Techstars Blog

We’ve been blown away by the success of our new book Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons To Accelerate Your Startup. It’s already massively exceeded our expectations for sales and the reactions have been very positive. Amazing mentors produce amazing results, and this book is no different. Dozens of our mentors and past founders contributed to the book, and we think that makes it a very special resource for entrepreneurs.

We thought we’d blog a few chapters from the book so that you can start to get a feel for it. We’re blogging a chapter a week for ten weeks. Be sure to subscribe to the blog if you haven’t already done so.

There are seven themes in the book (Idea/Vision, People, Execution, Product, Fundraising, Legal/Structure, and Work/Life Balance).

This chapter is from the Execution theme. I’ve highlighted a few sentences, so you can discuss them inline. Feel free to add your own highlights!

Read this chapter (and others in this series) in the original layout using the online reader at BooksInBrowsers.com.

Do Or Do Not, There Is No Try
by Brad Feld

Brad is a managing director at Foundry Group and one of the co-founders of TechStars.

When I grow up I want to be like Yoda (except for the short green part). Until then, I’ll just do my best to incorporate his philosophy into my life.

$DO ∥ ! $DO; try Try: command not found

I’ve always found this Yoda quote to epitomize how I try to live my life. Ever since I was a little kid, I never really understood what try meant. There were lots of things I did and lots of things I failed at. However, even when I failed, I viewed myself as having “done it” even if I wasn’t successful. When I wanted to master something, I did it a lot. I didn’t try to do it—I did it, and accepted the failure along with the success.

Throughout the years I heard many people say, “You should try this” or “You should try that.” Sometimes it was trivial (for example, you should try foie gras); other times, it was complex (you should try to learn how to play the piano.) My parents taught me early on that “No” or “I’m not interested” was an acceptable answer, so I was rarely intimidated when faced with something new. I also started to understand the difference between preference (for example, try foie gras and see if you like it) and accomplishment (try to learn how to play the piano). I realized preference was unimportant in the context of accomplishment but the inverse mattered—namely that accomplishment was important in the context of preference. Specifically, you could accomplish a wide range of things whether you had a prefer- ence for them, but that when you tried to accomplish that thing, it mattered a lot whether you had a preference for it.

Now, ponder the phrase “You should try entrepreneurship.” What exactly does that really mean? How about “You should try to start a company.” Or “You should try to build a product.” Or even “You should try to sell something to someone.” Try? Really? If you have a preference for entrepreneurship, or think you have a preference for entrepreneurship, just go for it. You might fail—but that’s okay and is part of the process. If you start a company that ultimately fails, you are still an entrepreneur. And your next step should be to go start another company.

If you don’t have a preference for entrepreneurship (or—more specifically—entrepreneurship doesn’t interest you), you have no business creating a company in the first place. Starting a company is extremely hard and requires commitment on many levels. Ultimately, you don’t really “try to start a company”—you either do it or you don’t.

Do or do not—there is no try.

Here’s the entire excerpt series.

Like what you’re reading? Go order the book already!

David Cohen
(@davidcohen) Co-founder & Co-CEO of Techstars, previously founder of several technology companies. David is an active startup advocate, advisor, board member, and technology advisor who comments on these topics on his blog at DavidGCohen.com